January 16, 2015 — The FCC published its rules streamlining the siting and construction of wireless sites in the Federal Register on January 8. The rules go into effect on different dates, which makes the process more complicated. And some effective dates depend on approval of the rules by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).
The new rules update the environmental and historical property evaluation of proposed small cell and DAS deployments, as well as clarifying and implementing statutory requirements for state and local governments’ review of wireless infrastructure siting applications. In particular, the Commission provided definitions of terms in Section 6409(a), including transmission equipment, base station, wireless tower and what constitutes a substantial change of at tower’s physical dimensions.
The new rule implementing Section 6409(a) (Section 1.40001) will become effective on April 8, 2015, except for Sections 1.40001(c)(3)(i), 1.40001(c)(3)(iii), and 1.140001(c)(4), according to William Sill, partner, Wilkinson Barker Knauer.
“These sections — which include provisions addressing the tolling of time frames for review of eligible facilities requests and the failure to act by local jurisdictions (deemed granted) — contain new information collection requirements and require OMB approval,” Sill said. The FCC will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval of these rules and the date when they become effective.
Those rules not implementing Section 6409(a) will become effective on February 9, 2015, except for Section 17.4(c)(1)(vii), which codifies the existing waiver for temporary towers and requires OMB approval. The FCC will publish a document in the Federal Register announcing OMB approval of the rule and the effective date.
Deadlines to challenge the Report & Order
As any FCC-watcher knows, this is not the final word on the subject there will be challenges and probably lawsuits. The next stages of the process are listed below:
o Petitions for reconsideration to the FCC are due February 9, 2015.
o Petitions for review to the Courts of Appeals are due March 9, 2015.
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